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Lessons in Breastfeeding

Aug 8 2014 / Posted in Maternal health

Doctor Turuk answering questions from the audience
Doctor Turuk answering questions from the audience

What to do when breast milk dries out? Can the child be fed when the mother is sick? Is maalish good for the baby? Can we put oil in the child’s ears and nose?

Doctors from BYL Nair hospital were flooded with questions from about 100 mothers, some of them even pregnant. The programme was organised at Buddha Vihar hall at  Govandi by SNEHA in collaboration with the BYL Nair Hospital, Mumbai Central. This is one of the many programmes SNEHA has organised for World Breastfeeding week starting August 1.

The audience were shown a short film too which extolled the benefits of breastfeeding in the first half hour of birth and six months exclusively.

The audience is shown a short film on the benefits of breastfeeding
The audience is shown a short film on the benefits of breastfeeding

“The first thick milk (colostrum) is like a vaccine for your child. Please do not throw it away. The child needs no water either. The breast milk has 80% water,”said Dr Mahendra Chavan after the doctors enacted a play before the audience.

One woman asked why her breast milk just dried out. She said that her mother-in-law insisted on feeding her daughter honey for three days after birth, and after three days she could not generate any milk. Her daughter only drank milk from the bottle.

The doctors explained that for the milk to generate the child has to suckle the breast, which sends a signal to the brain that milk has to be made. “If you do not feed the child for the first three days, it will be very difficult for the body to generate milk. The more you feed the child, more milk is generated,”said community development officer, Anjali Parande.

Nair hopsital doctors enacting a play
Nair hopsital doctors enacting a play

The doctors also showed a chart with the dos and don’ts to the audience. “Using the bottle is responsible for many infections. The nipple too. The child spits it out and picks it again and feeds on it,”said Parande.

Dr Alka Turuk demonstrated the right way to breastfeed the baby and ensure that mothers do not suffer back pain. She also demonstrated the right way to express milk. She also explained the importance of using contraception after the baby so that there is a three-year gap between first baby and the next. “It is important to breastfeed the baby. This is possible only if there is a three year gap between two babies,” said Dr Turuk.

The SNEHA staffers and doctors asked the women to spread the word. “We have come here so that at least your generation can mend the errors made by the earlier generations. Please spread the message with your friends and sisters,” said Parande.